At the Crossroads

At the Crossroads

by James Carter Organ Trio
     
 

At the Crossroads, saxophonist James Carter's third disc for the Emarcy, is the first for the label with his Organ Trio, which has been together since 2004. Produced by Michael Cuscuna, it's an indelible portrait of Detroit's historic jazz scene, envisioned in the present while looking ahead. All trio…  See more details below

Overview

At the Crossroads, saxophonist James Carter's third disc for the Emarcy, is the first for the label with his Organ Trio, which has been together since 2004. Produced by Michael Cuscuna, it's an indelible portrait of Detroit's historic jazz scene, envisioned in the present while looking ahead. All trio members -- Carter, organist Gerard Gibbs, and drummer Leonard King, Jr. -- either reside or come from there. This disc also showcases Carter's development from his earliest days shedding in the Motor City to his current status as a jazz virtuoso. Numerous guest appearances -- from Detroit and elsewhere -- underscore this. It kicks off in true B-3 grit-and-gravy mode with a twist on "Oh Gee," a knotty bop burner that is one of several tracks with guitarist Bruce Edwards; its head is played at a breakneck tempo, the trio's interplay and Carter's solo in the middle move in and out of the honking and bar walking tradition of Detroit's Hastings Street clubs, but pushes it into its post-bop terrain. "JC Off the Set," by Gibbs, is a ballad written in response to Carter's earlier composition "JC on the Set," and the organist is impressive with his innovative arpeggios and his sense of swing. King's "Lettuce Toss Yo' Salad" is the wildest cut here; a variation on straight-ahead hard bop, it takes intense turns by Carter squawking and squalling with King, making his cymbals and snare sound simply greasy with Gibbs' sprinting bass runs and instinctive fills. Big Maybelle's "Ramblin' Blues" is one of three vocals by veteran Detroit singer Miche Braden. With Carter playing flute and alto in addition to tenor, fellow Detroiter Vincent Chandler on trombone, and trumpeter Keyon Harrold, Braden gets her soul-blues on. She also shines on the gospel nugget "Tis the Old Ship of Zion," and reveals her shining jazz chops on "The Walking Blues." Other highlights (though there isn't a weak moment here) include a reading of B-3 jazz innovator Sarah McLawler's tune "My Whole Life Through," which is shimmering, pure blues-jazz with some gorgeous work by Gibbs and King; Jack McDuff's "Walking the Dog," and the closing read of Julius Hemphill's "The Hard Blues," which features guitarist Brandon Ross. Nocturnal, funky, and and slow for a long cut -- it clocks in at nearly ten minutes -- the interplay between Carter and Ross with Gibbs' rumbling bass notes is exciting before things get really wild. When the tune moves outside, King holds it down tight as the other three try to send it over the cliff. At the Crossroads delivers what its title promises: a portrait of the Organ Trio at the point where they look back at B-3 jazz history and move it ever forward.

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Product Details

Release Date:
10/04/2011
Label:
Emarcy
UPC:
0602527768854
catalogNumber:
001608102
Rank:
61805

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

James Carter Organ Trio   Primary Artist
James Carter   Indexed Contributor,Flute,Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Bruce Edwards   Guitar
Eli Fountain   Tambourine
Brandon Ross   Guitar
Vincent Chandler   Trombone
Gerard Gibbs   Organ
Keyon Harrold   Trumpet
Leonard King   Drums,Vocals
Miche Braden   Vocals

Technical Credits

Julius Hemphill   Composer
Matthew Gee   Composer
Ronald Shannon Jackson   Composer
Jim Anderson   Engineer
Ralph Bass   Composer
Michael Cuscuna   Producer
Duke Ellington   Composer
Eddie Durham   Composer
Jack McDuff   Composer
Alan Silverman   Mastering
Maybelle Smith   Composer
Fred Mendelsohn   Composer
Jesse Powell   Composer
Guido Luciani   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Cynthia B. Herbst   Executive Producer
Gerard Gibbs   Arranger,Composer
Leonard King   Arranger,Composer,Liner Notes
Wulf Müller   Executive Producer
Sarah McLahler   Composer

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